We've worked with Airedale Group for a long time now, so understanding its business and what works is something we're very used to doing. You'd be mistaken for thinking this makes things easy when they come to us requesting something new. It is a progressive company in a traditionally conservative industry. They have always pushed us for something that stands out and they like to shake things up relatively frequently, but at the same time reassure their loyal customers that they're still the same family-run business they have always been. This is always our challenge, and this time was no exception.
Airedale prides itself on its exceptional customer service. It is focused on building trusting and lasting relationships with its customers. It is innovative and market-leading and as such, the brand has grown in confidence and scale. We have supported Airedale in the past and again now by realigning its visual identity to its goals and providing a new suite of websites, and other materials to convey the brand coherently.
Coherence is key here as our brief was to come up with a new set of logos to bring all the existing subsidiary companies under one Group umbrella, through a common identifying symbol. We knew getting the symbol right was key to future-proofing the identity. Their old logo—Airedale Chemical—featured hexagons, which it has featured since the company's inception back in the 70's. Many iterations and modernisations of that symbol have happened since then, but this was the first time we've been given the green light to lose the hexagon.
We threw a lot of ideas into the hat for this—probably too many—but, as many designers find, you've gotta go there to come back—overthink to find clarity. Simplicity won out in the end and we feel the new symbol is both versatile and energising but also, crucially, nods towards their roots and encompasses their current values. It represents solidarity, it signifies unity and it feels like science.
Before this exercise, Airedale had entirely separate websites for each subsidiary company. Whilst they featured the same distinctive Airedale colour palette, they all had different feels to each other entirely and this was creating a disjointed feel for those customers who might be engaging with more than one of their companies. It was decided to create a Group umbrella site and for the subsidiary sites to filter out from that. Many customers will, and can continue to go directly to the company they know and already use, but it makes the Group a more attractive and comprehensive proposition for new customers.
The design of the new sites is quite corporate compared to what we've done for Airedale in the past. This reflects their confident position in the marketplace and allows their product and service information to be presented with clarity.
As the design and general working areas of each site were to be the same or very similar, we decided to build in 'modules'.
To us, that meant we had to design with modules in mind. Each area had to be able to stack and work in a variety of different sequences. Common areas needed to be standardised and rules had to be put in place. It was fine though, we like rules!
To the client, this means they have a great level of freedom and control. In the CMS, they can create a new page at any time or add a new area to an existing page that seamlessly fits with the style of what's already there. It also has the added benefit of saving us development time when they need a new page or area creating—which actually works out a lot cheaper for them in the long run. Win, win.
Airedale requires many different items, mainly digital solutions for things such as product lists and sales presentations as well as stationery and advertisements. We will be producing all of these things on an ongoing basis to support Airedale as they need us to. It's always rewarding to see how the brand rolls out into all these common areas.
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